Notes I Didn’t Give to the Western Wall
I’d always wanted to touch
the Western Wall, wedge
my prayers into the cracks.
As a child I coloured pictures
of the Wall – each stone
a different colour.
In Israel, I worry
I won’t get to touch the Wall
crowded one hundred people thick.
It tugs me forwards. Notes clenched
in my fist. Baruch Hashem.
Hundreds of notes jam
into cracks. Some have fallen out,
line ground. The Wall so note-heavy
it can’t take any more.
Prayers on weather-worn paper – dusk
pink, Dead Sea blue, or yellowed
as pale limestone. I hear rumours
of cleaners plucking out notes
so others can cram theirs in.
I place two fingers on stone.
Electricity zooms down my arm.
The stone is warm from the setting sun.
I don’t need a note. Send
my prayer through my fingers –
feel it rush into the Wall.
The Rabbi and his team collect
thousands of notes, sweep
the Wall twice a year with wooden sticks.
They bury the prayers on Jerusalem’s
Mount of Olives.
My own remain tucked in my travel journal’s
pocket. On rare occasions I take
out the notes—read the wishes and prayers
of my younger self.
At twenty-nine, these seven-year-old wishes
still stand. I wonder at my prayer – be strong
live fearless – did not know that a year on,
my self would split in two. Perhaps I knew
I would need these past-self clues –
these buried Western Wall notes –
to remind me of who I once was.
‘Notes I Didn’t Give to the Western Wall’ is forthcoming in Amnesia Findings (UQP 2019), and republished with permissions here.